Spring Plus Size Try-on Haul AGAIN

I feel weird preparing something as “normal” as a blog post…but I’m trying to find my way back to some sort of normalcy…I guess really to a new normal…and fortunately, the blog is something Caleb didn’t really have an imprint on. Not like the apartment and the car and every beach and park on Long Island. So in trying to throwing myself into something and distract myself away from…You Know Who…I think blogging is as good a distraction as any. Actually, the first day I’d thought of trying my hand at watercolor painting, but that required all new equipment, yadda yadda yadda, so in the end I just watched countless hours of YouTube watercolor tutorials, which was actually quite soothing and I highly recommend it.

So while “clothing” isn’t feeling all that important to me right now, hot weather *is* coming…and whether I feel like it or not, I will need to put something on my body before going to work (new dress code and all), so….a few things arrived in the mail last week and I did a quick try-on video to share with y’all. Uh-oh, I’m lapsing into my mother’s Texas roots. I don’t recall her actually saying “y’all,” but…whatever. I’m living in topsy-turvy land. Bear with me here.

Three of the items I tried on in the video are from Amazon Prime Wardrobe . This is a new program open to Amazon Prime members where you can “try on” between 3 and 7 pieces of clothing (or shoes, bags, accessories, etc) at no charge for up to 7 days, and they only charge you for what you don’t return. One of the problems with online shopping is your money is tied up for the time it takes for the store to send you the items you bought, then the time it takes for any returned items to go back through the mail to the retailer and then the time they take to actually refund your credit card. It can take up to three weeks, from start to finish, to get the money back on items you didn’t keep. I don’t know about you, but I do not have an infinite clothing budget. I need to get my refund from Items A, B and C before I can then purchase Items D, E and F. So this is a beautiful thing. That’s the good news. The bad news is I found the selection, at least in the plus sizes, to be a little limited (so what else is new). But hopefully that will improve with time…and maybe that’s just me, so don’t go by my experience, take a look and make your own decision.

DR2 by Daniel Rainn Lace Detail Peasant Blouse (Plus Size)

No longer available, similar here in plus size, or in straight size here

Melrose and Market Bell Sleeve Button Back Floral Print Shirt (Plus Size), size 4x

Image of Melrose and Market Bell Sleeve Button Back Floral Print Shirt (Plus Size)

From Gwynnie Bee..

lucky brand Keyhole Back Ruffle Top, size 3x

And these are the Amazon Prime Wardrobe items:

Star Vixen Women’s Plus-Size Long Sleeve Open Hem Peasant Top With Keyhole Tie

Blu Pepper Women’s Plus allover Printed Tank With Embroidery

Ruby Rd. Women’s Plus Size Button-Front Striped Dobby Top

And if you’ve got a spare 13 minutes, you can see the rundown on each of these items as I try them on. Janey makes a cute appearance during the 4th item…at minute 5:14…if you just want to see Janey and not me 🙂  I won’t be offended.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you click on them and/or buy something as a result of clicking that link.

Week in Review: Week 107

I love the charming older homes in my area.

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I was sick for two days and didn’t get out.

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My view from bed.

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And then we had more snow!

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And had another snow day, which we all love very much.

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I’ve been looking for an etagere in just the right size since I moved here back in August, and finally found one on CraigsList. Guess I should have emptied my car out before going to pick it up. Fortunately I had some old computer cables in the back to tie the hatch down as it wouldn’t shut with the etagare legs sticking it. AND, fortunately, it was less than two miles from my house so I didn’t have to drive far after picking it up. It’s very hilly around here and I was afraid all my junk would start spilling out the back as I drove uphill!

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In place.

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I got a little neatening trim from Morgan at Posh. Now it looks more like an intentional style vs. growing out bald head.

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Janey in the packing peanuts.

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Shopping for comfortable black flats. I loved these but managed to control myself.

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The final contenders.

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Ooh, pretty! Should I??

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New hair, new shoes, Gwynnie Bee dress – off to a wedding!

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Awww!!!

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And today I slept on and off almost all day! Running errands all day yesterday and being out late last night took it’s toll on me and I could just not stay awake so I kept laying back down “for just 5 minutes” and would wake up hours later…until 4:00 this afternoon!!! Gah! I don’t feel ready to start a new work week yet, but…..that’s life.

 

How to Pack for a Warmer Climate

I’M GOING AWAY! ON VACATION! TO SOMEPLACE WARM!

Not that there’s anything wrong with the cold, but it *will* be nice for one week to be in mild temps so I can do stuff without bundling up or my face hurting. But it can be a BEAR to figure out what to bring to a warmer climate when you live in a cold one. So I made a little video about how I whittled down from Many Items to Fewer, More Practical, Items. It’s practically a little baby capsule wardrobe.

It can be especially challenging when there are multiple people involved and you don’t know what everyone is going to want to do, so you sort of have to prepare for every possible contingency…WITHOUT having your suitcase go over weight (50lbs in this case).

And since I just did a video and no still shots from my wardrobe brainstorming (thinking pretty highly of my methods right about now), I will share a few pics that I never shared from last fall, of a cute’n’cozy sweater from Gwynnie Bee.

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This is *not* something I’ll be packing to go away. It’s by Rachel Roy, who does a really nice plus size line. One of my favorite summer dresses is from her, you can see it here.

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I loved that this cardigan was exactly the same length as the dress below it. It’s like they were made for one another. But it would have been equally cute over blue wash or black denim.

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Look at all the pretty colors that are in it! I’m just wearing a solid black base layer underneath – black dress, black tights, black booties – but the outfit looks very colorful just because of this one item. The beauty of the base layer.

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Ha ha, funny story. For some reason, I don’t remember now why, I took the sweater off part way through shooting, oh I think I wanted some pictures with it just over my shoulders, which looks cool when I see other people do it but when I do it it just looks like I have no arms. But when I put it back on I turned the shawl collar to the inside so it looks like there’s no collar…and I love a nice shawl collar cardigan. I’m such a derp.

Okay, so it wasn’t that funny.

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Look, no collar. D’oh.

And now our time together has come to an end. Almost.  Take a look at the video. Tell me if you think I’m not taking enough stuff. I did just order a pair of white jeans that I hope will fit so they can go with me. I think they’ll “warm weather-ify” all my black and grey tops. Do you find you usually end up with too much on trips…or not enough? Or the right amount but just of the wrong things…???

Trying Before Buying

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I’m still mucking around with the wireless shutter remote. I think that thing hates me almost as much as my sewing machine. But I’ll keep going til I either Get It…or it “accidentally” gets stepped on and crushed into the asphalt.

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Fortunately not everything is as frustrating as photography! Renting plus sized clothing from Gwynnie Bee is *super* easy. I’ve been using the service for almost three years now and I’ve learned so much about what looks good on me, what I’m consistently comfortable in, even what my “fashion personality” is!

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By having the luxury of being able to try and wear many different styles before buying (or returning!) you really get a feel for what items work best for you. Trying on an item in a dressing room for a few minutes, or even bringing it home to try on with your own clothes, is just not the same as wearing an item out in the world, in and out of the car, to work, out to dinner, etc. Many things look good in the mirror when you’re primping and posing…but as soon as you start moving around in your real life, all sorts of issues can pop up! The notorious “bust gap” when you sit…or dresses that ride up Just a Little Too Much when you walk or slide into a car…or that fabric that seemed fine for two minutes in the dressing room, after 2 hours is itching your neck like crazy…etc.

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You can try Gwynnie Bee plus size rental service for one month FREE, just click the text link at the bottom of this post. I pay for the “one item out at a time” plan and typically get 4-5 different items in a month if I wear an item once and return it the next day. I don’t own a lot of clothes, so having one extra item every week really helps keep my wardrobe fresh and interesting! Give it a try for a month – you’ve got nothing to lose…and a bunch of clothing items to try!

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What I’m Wearing

This is not a sponsored post, I am not being paid to write this. I am a happy customer…and if you join up after doing the one-month free trial using my coupon code, I will make a small commission. 

GWYNNIE BEE: Why buy it when you can GB it? Free shipping. Free exchanges. Free 30-day wardrobe rental.

The weekly vlog is up on my YouTube channel. This week is In the Dressing Room at Target. I try a couple things outside my “usual.”

Using Base Layers to Build Your Wardrobe

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This week’s video is all about using a couple simple base layers to build your wardrobe.

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I did a little “fashion math,” and realized that once you start using base layers + third item, you will start increasing the number of outfits you have in your wardrobe, exponentially.

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For example, a black tunic and leggings as the base layer + 5 different “third pieces,” whether a cardigan, vest, kimono or blazer, creates 7 different outfits. If you add another base layer – say a black turtleneck and black jeans or slacks + the same 5 different third pieces, you now have another 7 outfits, just by adding 2 additional items. Add a white tee and a pair of denim to the mix as another base layer, and those 2 items add ANOTHER 7 outfits…and so on.

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It’s kind of brilliant when you think about it. Rather than just buying things willy-nilly…”oh, I like this so I’ll buy it,” ask yourself the question, does it go well over one of your base layers. If it does, then that’s a wise purchase.

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Of course, you’re always going to want to have some “wild cards” in your wardrobe to spice things up a bit, like this black floral print. But I try to limit the number of outliers I purchase and stick to “things that will go with many other things.” That way I can make the most outfits.

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I explain it more fully in the video and you’ll see the theory in action, as I make many different outfits from just a few items.

What I Wore:

* Pink chenille cardigan from Charlotte Russe, size 3x
* Black floral top by American Rag from Gwynnie Bee, size 3x
* Black skinny jeans from Charlotte Russe, no longer in stock, size 22

 

Week in Review: Week 93

Thanksgiving is behind us and now we’re racing ahead to Christmas – and if not Christmas, what holiday (if any) will you be celebrating this winter? I feel like every year I hear about more different holidays, and really, growing up, I only heard about *my* holidays, and since that’s all my family celebrated, that’s all I knew there was. I’m so grateful that school-children these days are being taught about many different ethnicities and what they celebrate. That’s a big step towards future inclusivity.

It’s weird, in some ways I feel we’re – humanity as a whole – getting so much better about accepting that there are people that are different than we are and accepting them as just as valued? Entitled? Not sure of the right word there, but…that we ALL have a place here. No one is more entitled than anyone else…and no one is less entitled. In theory. Because in many ways I feel we’re going way off the rails as far as valuing everyone equally, and treating  them equally. And *I* certainly don’t know what the answer is – but education is a big part of it.

Whoa. That got real serious real fast. Just thinking of the holidays got me started.

Anyway. This week!  The highlight was definitely doing a photo shoot with Jennifer of Peanut&Pip Photography…with Caleb. Her photography is amazingly beautiful and I’m thrilled with the outcome (it looks like WordPress is mucking with photo quality here). My boy is getting so old and while I have tons of pictures of him, I don’t have any nice pictures of us. And I will treasure this forever.

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It’s getting more and more challenging for me to catch sunsets these days, but I did get to see this lovely sky on my way home that day.

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Work outfits for the week ahead.

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My weekly hair update, ha. It’s coming in…interesting how varied the color and growth rate is all around my head.

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Really making an effort to see as many sunsetty skies as possible. It gives me a chance to just take a moment and go, ahhhhh.

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I loved this cardi from Gwynnie Bee. You’ll see it more in an upcoming blog post.

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Up early working at the computer…and the kids were hanging out behind me.

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Another OOTD from this week. I realized I was wearing a lot of solids on solids and they needed something to break up the big expanse of “solid colored boob area,” either a necklace or a scarf. After this summer I certainly have no shortage of scarves, so…Plus, it was an exceptionally balmy day for November and I got one more day of bare legs in. Yay.

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Say it with me now….AHHHHHH.

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The current state of things. I’ve still got some boxes around but at least they’re pretty. My goal is to have the living room totally devoid of boxes before the Christmas tree arrives. I better get on that!

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And my Big News (ha)…I’m doing Vlogmas this month on my Fashion Schlub YouTube channel. Now, I’m almost embarrassed to mention it cuz the production quality is so so bad…BUT I really hope that by doing a vlog Every Single Day for the next 24 days I will have improved, at least in some areas. Anyway, the quality has nowhere to go but up, so…that’s something to look forward to! They’re short, just sort of a look at my day, a little fashion, a little miscellaneous. If you’re interested, here’s Vlogmas Day 1 (please have very low expectations, ha). And I would love if you would leave a comment on the page or a “thumbs up”!

It’s Almost December!

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So! I have been toying with the idea of doing another 30-day challenge in January – which is challenging myself to wear a different outfit every day in January, but now I’m thinking that, instead, maybe I’ll do Vlogmas (vlogging every day in December leading up to Christmas)! I’m SO not prepared for that, but I’m a big believer in just jumping in first and figuring it out later…and vlogging Every Single Day will help me get up-to-speed on All Things Vloggy pretty darn quick!

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It could be awful..for me AND you, ha! But I think I’m going to give it a go…if I can’t do it, I can’t do it…but I’ll certainly give it the old college try. They’ll be short, maybe 5-10 minutes a day, more or less. So…I know you’re excited, ha ha! If you want to witness this, just subscribe to my Fashion Schlub YouTube channel.

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That aside, this is another day of tripod/remote shutter selfies. On this day, a man walked his dog up to where I was shooting and proceeded to ask questions about what I was doing, including “would you like to take a picture with Miss Wiggles?” Uh, OF COURSE!!!

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Then a town worker truck pulled up, and they knew one another, so THAT guy got out of the truck and started asking me questions about what I was doing…and then they both stood there watching me. AWKWARD. Suffice it to say I didn’t get too many pictures that day. And they’re really not doing this outfit justice, because I LOVE this potato sacky dress from ASOS Curve (their plus size section) and faux leather jacket by Chelsea & Theodore via Gwynnie Bee…and I loved them together. But I didn’t get to check my car window reflection between shots so my wig was wacky and the jacket was askew and my tights are dirty. But that’s real life, so. There ya go.

Speaking of Real Life, I’ve just uploaded another video, “Switching Out My Plus Size Wardrobe from Summer to Winter: Part 2,” wherein I get all my cold weather clothes out of storage, cull through them to decide what stays and what goes, and add the “stayers” into my closet. It’s scintillating stuff, be sure to watch.

What I Wore:

* Asos Navy Ripple Stitch Dress, size 22
* Chelsea & Theodore Taupe Drape Front Faux Leather Jacket, via Gwynnie Bee, size 2x

Today I’m linking up with A Labour of Life and her Labour of Fashion link-up party!

2017 Plus Size Fall Haul #1 (with video!)

I finally bit the bullet and purchased some new plus size fall wardrobe items online…and I thought I’d share with you my thoughts about the items I got.

I purchased items from online shopping sites: Full Beauty/Woman Within/Jessica London, Forever 21, Asos, Thred-Up, Rainbow Shops, Gwynnie Bee and Old Navy. These are all in size 2x or 3x. It wasn’t such a successful shop and most of the items have already been returned…and as soon as I get all my refunds I’ll give it another try.

I rant a bit about spending money on “basics,” when they’re really so simple and invisible…and about brands using inconsistent sizing.

I apologize for it being SO so long. I considered cutting it in half and doing a Part 1 and Part 2, but….let’s just move on with it, shall we?

I spent almost the entire day last Saturday recording this fall haul; this vlog stuff has a steep learning curve! It took me so long, by the last couple of outfits the video is so dark you can barely see the color of the items I’m wearing! I also committed the cardinal sin of videoing, which is filming in portrait orientation (instead of landscape) – GAH! I’m having some video/photography challenges in the new apartment still, so bear with me while I get my space and lighting figured out!

If you have any questions about the items, please comment here or in the comments section underneath the video.

Size Matters

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No, I’m not talking about THAT. Jeez, get your mind out of the gutter.

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I’m talking about clothing sizing. And how *annoying* it is. It’s hard enough to find clothes that fit, but when you have roadblocks all throughout your shopping travels, it’s nearly impossible. Things like: clothing manufacturers not adhering to a global sizing standard, items being available in straight (and even petite) size that don’t exist in plus sizes, or one of my biggest pet peeves, clothing that gets taller/longer as the sizes go up.

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According to Livestrong.com, the average height of non-Hispanic white women is 5’4.” And here’s a shocking fact: as we gain weight, we do not also get TALLER. We get WIDER. But in my search for Sizing that Works for Me, I keep finding lines that get taller as they get larger. Melissa McCarthy’s plus line is very “tall.” Target’s Ava & Viv does this. So does Lane Bryant. I was excited to try something from the new Target line, A New Day, but guess what? Same fit issue as Ava & Viv. As I sized up to accommodate my hips/belly (my largest part), the item length stretched down towards my knees and the sleeves were absolutely ridiculous! UGH!!!

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So, imagine my delight in coming across Loft’s (soon to be released) plus size collection. First I tried a swing dress – my go-to default style. Very good. THEN I got brave and tried a more straight cut dress (shown) and BAM! Not only were the measurements hip-friendly, the proportions stayed true to an average height woman (I happen to be 5’3″ so am just below average height) – the shoulders were not swallowing my upper body, the sleeves were a good length, and the dress length itself was good.

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I. Am. So. Pleased. THANK YOU, LOFT. I understand their plus-size line will go live in early 2018…but they did a small release to Gwynnie Bee and that is how I was able to try several pieces.

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I now have several companies/designers that I know I can buy from, and as long as I stick to certain styles, items will fit. That sounds simple but it was a long time coming and a LOT of trial and error. Avenue tends to fit a wider, shorter body. Old Navy Plus can get a couple inches long in larger sizes, but the shoulders fit well and you can always have the length shortened. Asos Curve items *usually* fit a shorter, wider silhouette (though I’ve had the occasional ridiculous outlier there). And now Loft. I am grateful for these baby steps designers/manufacturers are taking in the fashion world. I do long for a day when everything I see in a straight size will also be available in a plus size, but til then…things are better than they *were,* by FAR.

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PS: if your brain is still thinking about sex, maybe take a look at a recent post by Shelbee On The Edge, she  wrote about “The Midlife Sex Conundrom.”

I’m happily linking up with #iwillwearwhatilike

What I Wore:

 

Did you know you can try Gwynnie Bee FREE for 30 days?? Just follow the banner ad below for more details and to sign up.Fall Collection 2017

Cardigans Are a Girl’s Best Friend

Okay, first of all, forgive me as I have selfied. I had no available photographer this week so I figured out I could use a light stand as a tripod workaround. I always lose the little piece on the tripod that attaches the camera to the tripod, rendering said tripod useless. But the hard part of selfies isn’t where to put the camera or how to take the picture from umpteen feet away…it’s how to get yourself in focus!!! So, my apologies in advance for a high percentage of not-quite-in-focus pictures.

That said…I really enjoyed wearing this Karen Kane floral dress from Gwynnie Bee…BUT it was only wearable with a cardi over top. It was a little too clingy to my hip bumps and my tummy on its own…but a cardigan is magic and just glides right over those things and you’d never know there were any problem areas at all!

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Aforementioned hip bumps…not quite as evident in the photo, but trust me, they’re there.

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And tummy…

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But with the cardigan all that just disappears…

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Interestingly, my friend Julia over at When the Girls Rule just posted today about a top she calls “the fixer.” And I think a loose-fitting cardigan falls into the category of “fixer,” as it fixes whatever’s underneath. I’m borrowing your term, Julia, cuz it’s brilliant! 

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So if you have something that seems a little too snug for you in spots, don’t necessarily discount it. If you love it, you can “fix it” with a loose cardigan over top.

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Plus, they’re wonderful for extending your summer wardrobe into the cooler months of fall. I’d had this dress in my Gwynnie Bee closet for some time, and it just arrived now in the middle of October. Layering the cardigan over it made it autumnal!

Speaking of autumnal, just some borrowed scenes from my girlfriend’s front porch…

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What I Wore:

  • Karen Kane floral dress via Gwynnie Bee, 24
  • Old Navy black duster cardigan, 2x
  • Hat from Headcovers Unlimited